Yesterday, I flirted with disaster. I did something most people are too frightened or too horrified to do.
But don’t worry, you NEVER have to do this. This post is not meant to pressure you into doing this crazy thing. What is this insanity to which I am referring? Canning chicken at home in a pressure canner.
Why is this so scary, you ask? Just Google pressure canning. You will find horror stories of exploding canners, botulism, and other threats to your life you are exposed to when can meat at home. But I laugh at danger and obviously do not fear death, because I jumped right in and did it. I canned chicken. 19 jars of it!
The jars are not pretty (because I did a raw pack), but they are GOOD!
WHY? Why would someone flirt with death and ruin perfectly good chicken at the same time? Especially when there is an abundance of fresh, frozen, and canned chicken for sale in just about every grocery store in the US. Truth is, even the “good” canned chicken tastes an awful lot like tuna fish to me, and I think it has a metallic taste to it.
Back to my original question… Why? Most people in the USA eat meat regularly. If there was a shortage of food (think run on the grocery store because of the snowpocalypse, or power outages, or earthquakes, or job loss, etc.) whether in your community or just in your own home, what would you do? Meat is an excellent source of protein, but it can be pricey, and there aren’t a lot of long term options to store it. You can keep it in your freezer, but if your power goes out, you are out of luck. There’s always freeze dried meat, which lasts for 20-30 years if stored properly, but it is even more expensive than buying meat from the grocery store. Canned meat is a good solution, but there’s that metallic taste thing again.
#1 REASON to can meat… Meat canned in glass jars does not have a metallic taste and actually tastes good! It tastes like meat. Chicken tastes like chicken, beef tastes like beef, and so on.
#2 REASON to can meat… It is shelf stable for a year or longer. If your power goes out, you have meat. If you are busy one night and don’t want to cook, you have meat ready to use!
Here’s a brief overview of what I did. It’s not a step by step, all-inclusive tutorial on how to can chicken. There are so many reputable websites detailing how to can chicken that I don’t want to fix what’s not broken. So, I’ve listed a few at the bottom of this post for you.
Please keep in mind that it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to follow all the instructions from a reputable source. Canning food can have disastrous consequences if you do not follow the steps necessary to keep your food safe.
Did I freak you out enough? Yeah, thinking about canning did that to me for a long time, especially canning meat. But I’ve been canning for a few years now and have never had any problems. I follow the instructions to the letter!
First, I bought chicken to can. (Well, actually I bought the jars and the pressure canner first, but you get the idea.) You can buy this from any reputable grocery, butcher, farmer, etc.
I bought mine from a company called Zaycon Foods. They sell fresh food direct from the farmer, rancher, etc. and offer deliveries to most parts of the United States for $1.89/pound (in 40 pound boxes). Their chicken is fresh (never frozen) and hormone free. It comes in “wholesale” packaging as shown below.
The chicken looked like this when it came out of the box.
I trimmed the chicken, cut it into pieces, and put it into pint sized jars. I used about half of the box.
I cleaned the rims on the jars, put lids on, and put the jars in the pressure canner. Please note that a pressure canner is different than a pressure cooker. If you wish to safely can meat and low acid foods, you need a pressure canner.
I processed the jars as directed in my pressure canner’s instruction booklet (75 minutes at full pressure), and they came out like this.
I decided to open a jar and show you how the chicken turned out.
I drained the jar and put the broth (which you can use in recipes or just mix with the chicken, season, and serve) in a bowl. My cat expects to have any meat juice drained from any can, so I appeased her.
After draining the jar, I emptied the jar into a bowl.
I did not add salt to my jars, so this needed seasoning before using it in a recipe. I opted to make a very simple chicken salad (salt, pepper, and a touch of mayo).
And it turned out so YUMMY! I couldn’t resist nibbling on the chicken as a made the salad either.
I promised you some links to explore the wonderful world of canning chicken. Here are a few of my favorites:
If canning still scares you, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it. I promise I won’t drive you crazy with canning posts.
Let me ask you a question… What are you doing to ensure you and your family have good, shelf-stable protein sources? Think about picking up an extra jar of peanut butter or can of tuna fish the next time you visit the grocery store. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions! Please share below.